• EngoZ

For the Sake of One: Britain- Ibori

Updated: Dec 28, 2018

Best believe it- Nigeria is a funny country. In recent news, the British prime minister David Cameron had declared Nigerians and other foreigners serving jail terms in British prisons would be deported to their countries to continue serving their terms there, and Nigerian president Goodluck Ebele Jonathan readily was accepting to this declaration or rather 'negotiation'. Blogs and online newspapers were awashed with 'upright' and satisfied Brits smirking and raising congratulatory wine glasses. 

"About time," they all seemed to agree. The usual line of "saving taxpayers money" charged the atmosphere. There were also many skeptics in their midst who couldn't avoid taking a dig at Cameron and believed he would grossly recant on his words. 

Nigerians too had a smirk, but not for the same reasons as the Brits.  In Nigeria, 2015 would herald another electoral year. Therefore, all political elite would be needed with all hands on deck whether in prison or NOT in prison. A certain Nigerian politician and ex governor of Delta State is currently serving a 13-year jail sentence in Britain for conspiracy to launder funds from the state, substantive counts of money laundering and one count of obtaining money transfer by deception and fraud.[1]

However, in recent news, a UK court has ordered the retrial of this politician's case on the grounds of lack of enough evidence by the prosecution.[2] This is despite the politician pleading guilty to these crimes in 2012.[3]

What perfect timing! This sets the stage for this politician's deportation to Nigeria. If Nigerian prisoners are deported, this politician would also be deported to serve the 'remainder' of his sentence.  To the Nigerian, now this would be a laugh, because politicians do not serve sentences in Nigeria. Instead James Ibori would be heralded as a king, a knight in shining armour who had sojourned through seven seas to seek the cure of a pestilence that has ravaged his people and finally he's returned. Delta state indigenes would bring out their native drums, men would dance acrobats in the air, women would sing and cook and children would chase the cars screaming 'Ibori is back' to celebrate their brother, their uncle who has (as they see it) been made a scapegoat by the Nigerian political elite, since after all, all politicians steal. Be certain they would say this with a shrug to their shoulders. 

This is the general consensus when a politician is caught in criminal offenses: to proclaim intelligently and with all seriousness that everyone steals, and the caught thief was just a scapegoat, a pawn in the political gimmicks of the elite. Ibori might be placed on house arrest just to save the nonexistent moral fibre of the country. It would be like a mother lovingly scolding her recalcitrant child. But he would quickly and certainly get a pardon by the Nigerian government (his loving mother), so that he can quickly get back into the game, like the ex governor of Bayelsa State Diepreye Alamieyeseigha who recently got a state pardon by the Jonathan led government. For those who do not know who he is, Alamieyeseigha is a politician convicted of stealing millions of dollars while serving as a state governor.[4]

2015 is near, so all hands must be on deck! Thief or no thief, criminal or no criminal.

Nigeria indeed is a funny country. 

Photo Credits: cnn.com

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